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Security Summit Canada: the recap

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was held virtually this year


February 17, 2021
By SP&T Staff

On Feb. 10, SP&T News hosted its annual Security Summit Canada event, a security conference bringing together members of Canada’s security channel to learn how to expand their business, attract new customers, retain more clients and offer more value to their customer base.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was held virtually this year.

Hosted by SP&T editor Neil Sutton, the event was sponsored by Alarm.com, All American Monitoring, Securtek Monitoring Solutions, TAG Dispatch, WeSuite and CANASA.

Denis Hébert, president of Feenics and former chairman of the Security Industry Association (SIA),was the keynote speaker for the event. In his address, Hébert looked at the major trends affecting the security industry in 2021 — particularly privacy as the next frontier, cybersecurity and cloud.

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“We have to be thinking about positively contributing to end users’ operations by providing key data information,” Hébert said in his concluding statements. “Something has to be considered for this year and beyond.”

Following Hébert’s keynote, Anna de Jager of TAG Dispatch presented the first technology brief which highlighted the importance of harnessing and investing in technology and finding innovation in your business and offerings.

“Rethinking Home Security” was the first panel of the day

The first session of the conference “Rethinking Home Security” was then introduced. Moderated by associate editor Alanna Fairey, the panelists included:

  • Morgan Hertel, vice-president of technology and innovation, Rapid Response Monitoring
  • Gordon Hebb, vice-president of sales, Wilsons Security
  • David Koziel, president & CEO, Northern Alarm Protection

The panelists discussed the evolving home security market and with more people spending more time in their homes (either to work or to be with family), customer priorities are shifting towards convenience, lifestyle accommodations and home-based health-care options.

Koziel says that it has been up to his customers if his technicians can access the homes for service calls. “We also have seen a trend where if, for example, our customers have a low battery, they will either pick it up from our shop or we’ll leave it at the front door,” Koziel said. “We certainly do reassure the client before we enter the house or even do service calls, what protocols we have in place — we’ve certainly made the adjustments due to the pandemic.”

To accommodate social distancing guidelines, remote troubleshooting and services have become the new normal for home security businesses.”Our client service team and next level support team try to troubleshoot every call as much as possible — we’ve been blessed by an amazing team,” Hebb said. “[Remote troubleshooting] put together a package that we don’t have to just batch as much now which is great. It was almost like a learning experience COVID has taught us.”

With cybersecurity and privacy issues a top of mind concern for customers, Hertel says that organizations such as Rapid Response Monitoring have to be very diligent.

“We have to make sure that things like default passwords are changed or we’re using products that force those changes all the way through,” Hertel said. “We have to do our job to be able to do that.”

WeSuite president Tracy Larson then hosted a brief sales session that provides three strategies to build your pipeline and rules to get wins from losses.

“The new face of systems integration” panel kicked off after a brief coffee break

After a brief coffee break, the second panel “The new face of systems integration” took off. Moderated by Sutton, the panelists were:

  • Scott Jupp, Canadian Director, integration & national sales, Stanley Security
  • Danny Zavaglia, Canadian Security sales manager/business performance leader, Johnson Controls
  • Klaus Dengler, security systems designer & estimator, Fibertel Communications Canada

The systems integrators discussed how their clients’ immediate needs have changed (such as touchless access and temperature-sensing) in the short term and what the long-term projections are for smarter buildings.

Technologies have made an impact during COVID-19 and the way that customers have been utilizing them. For Zavaglia, the most notable have been Bluetooth technology and mobile apps.

“In that app on your phone, [users are] no longer having the customer hold the card,” said Zavaglia. “It’s their credential, it’s in their pocket, they’re responsible for, say, the sanitizing of their phone, keeping it clean, not touching other devices… People tracking, in and out of facilities for contact tracing.”

When it comes to accessing job sites, Jupp shared that there was a “wait and see” approach at the beginning of the pandemic. According to Jupp, having access to the sites that were closed down became a more viable option for his customers.

“One thing I will say that has been a challenge is non-essential construction — non-essential construction being shut down intermittently or for longer tenure,” said Jupp. “But overall, I think initially, there was a bit of a delay, but since then it has picked back up and it’s kind of business as usual as an essential service.”

The concept of smart buildings is trending into 2021 and beyond.

“I don’t think that the pandemic has necessarily influenced the integration into building automation systems and smart buildings,” said Dengler. “[But] I think that’s definitely where the industry is going to go, regardless of the actual physical footprint that’s out there,” said Dengler. “As I think about some of the things that have been adapted into those technologies, it has really become about the user experience and leveraging those platforms for more departments within the organization.”

Edmonton-based Fibertel was SP&T’s Integrator of the Year for 2020 based on a smart building project.

The final technology brief was presented by Patrick Soo, director of national sales, Canada, Alarm.com, who had a presentation focused on the innovation and technology that is supporting dealer growth in Canada and around the globe.

To end off the event, Victor Harding, principal, Harding Security Services Inc. moderated a final panel called “M&As and Valuations in Security.” Panelists included:

  • Marc Henley, director of corporate development, Avante Logixx
  • Henry Edmonds, president, The Edmonds Group
  • Oliver Blum, managing director, partner, New Look Capital
  • Andrew Davenport, director of corporate development, Telus

“M&As and Valuations in Security” was the final session of the day

The financial experts shared their insights into the market, the technology and social drivers that are creating change, the impact of COVID-19, and what this year may hold.

“COVID hasn’t really hurt valuations, unless you happen to be in a sector that was very hard to hit and your business metrics have dropped,” said Edmonds regarding how COVID has impacted the market. “Generally speaking, the industries have performed well and I would argue that COVID has enhanced the investing appeal for the industries that we focus on because it’s just another example of an economic challenge or a downturn where the alarm and PERS industries have performed consistently and performed pretty well.”

Henley said the Avante Logixx has acquired a number of guarding companies. “Essentially, the point of acquiring those guarding companies was that it gave us access, and allows us to cross-sell a much broader range of services,” he said. “We’ll look at anything security touches whether it’s systems installation companies, alarm monitoring, background screening, anything that we think that can help us add unique capabilities to our service line and add that unique value added service.”

While COVID has shaken up the industry as a whole, the panelists are hopeful about the future of the security industry.

“We’ll see some deals, it may not be on the residential side or maybe more on the commercial side in some of the periphery areas that tie into home security and home automation,” said Davenport.

“I’m optimistic about 2021 from a deal flow perspective,” concluded Blum.

Visit the Security Summit Canada event page for archived versions of all the presentations.